Haslam's Gas Tax Approaches Final Vote

Apr 19, 2017

Updated 4:45 p.m.

Governor Bill Haslam's plan to pay for improvements to Tennessee roads by raising the state's gas tax looks to be on its way to final passage.

The state House and the Senate both approved Haslam's so-called IMPROVE Act Wednesday afternoon. It calls for a 6-cent increase to the tax on gasoline and a 10-cent increase to the diesel tax.

Those will be offset with cuts to other taxes, including on food, manufacturing and investments.

Lawmakers debated the measure on the floor for nearly six hours before passing the measure.

Nashville Democrat Bo Mitchell says he doesn't believe those cuts will save most families money. But he sees it as a good bargain anyway.

"Let's don't stand up there and tell the average Tennessean they're getting a tax break, because it's not true," he said. "My folks in my district don't mind paying a little bit more on their gas tax if you'll fix their roads.

House lawmakers voted down an alternative plan presented by East Tennessee Republican David Hawk. He suggested raising taxes on sales of automobiles.

There are some differences between the House and Senate version that still need to be resolved — most notably, whether to extend property tax relief to veterans.

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